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April 3, 2020, 12:14 p.m. EDT

FTSE 100 heads for 1% weekly loss as BP, insurers decline

Insurers asked to halt dividends by European regulator

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Signs with messages of support to the NHS staff are displayed in windows of a building near St Thomas' Hospital in London this week.

London stocks remained stuck in the red on Friday, with downbeat data driven by the coronavirus and losses for energy and insurance names weighing on the main index.

The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.19%  fell nearly 1% to 5,444.91, for a weekly loss of 1.7%. The pound slumped 1.2% against the dollar to $1.2253, for a weekly drop of 1.7%.

Bleak economic data hit Europe and the U.K. on Friday, with March data indicated the steepest downturn across the U.K. service sector for more than two decades. The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Final UK services PMI business activity index came in at 34.5 in March, below a “flash” reading of 35.7 and down sharply from 53.2 in February.

That’s after eurozone PMI numbers slumped to 26.4 from 52.6 in February, the worst-ever reading in the history of the series.

Insurers were big losers as regulators from the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority late Thursday asked insurers and reinsurers to suspend dividends and postpone bonuses amid the coronavirus crisis, a move that has been seen in the banking sector as well.

Shares of Prudential PLC /zigman2/quotes/200530572/delayed UK:PRU +2.95%  dropped 2.8%, while RSA Insurance Group PLC  tumbled 6% and Admiral Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/201079056/delayed UK:ADM +1.26%  dropped 3%.

Oil prices climbed again on Friday, but that did nothing to help major oil companies BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +0.81%   /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +1.09%  and Royal Dutch Shell ,  whose prices fell around 5% each.

Shares of Pearson PLC /zigman2/quotes/204954587/delayed UK:PSON +1.83%  were big decliners, down over 10%, while pub operator Whitbread PLC /zigman2/quotes/207954631/delayed UK:WTB +1.87%  tumbled 8%.

/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
7,389.98
+87.24 +1.19%
Volume: 722,321
May 20, 2022 4:56p
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/zigman2/quotes/200530572/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
1,006.00 p
+28.80 +2.95%
Volume: 7.23M
May 20, 2022 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
1.33%
Market Cap
£27.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
£1.33M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201079056/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
2,174.00 p
+27.00 +1.26%
Volume: 586,150
May 20, 2022 4:35p
P/E Ratio
10.93
Dividend Yield
12.83%
Market Cap
£6.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
£136,604
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 31.28
+0.25 +0.81%
Volume: 12.70M
May 20, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.13%
Market Cap
$100.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
$2.62M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
417.20 p
+4.50 +1.09%
Volume: 32.73M
May 20, 2022 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
4.20%
Market Cap
£80.56 billion
Rev. per Employee
£1.74M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204954587/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
758.80 p
+13.60 +1.83%
Volume: 1.24M
May 20, 2022 4:35p
P/E Ratio
36.22
Dividend Yield
2.70%
Market Cap
£5.65 billion
Rev. per Employee
£160,562
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207954631/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
2,667.00 p
+49.00 +1.87%
Volume: 804,812
May 20, 2022 4:35p
P/E Ratio
127.30
Dividend Yield
1.30%
Market Cap
£5.38 billion
Rev. per Employee
£59,996
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Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.

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